Sounds of the season: Orcas Community Band

Keeping the tradition of concert bands from long ago, the 35-member Orcas Island Community Band is presenting its annual holiday performance.

“For the December concert we do a mix of band music and popular show tunes and classics as well as holiday music,” said co-conductor Karen Key Speck. “There is really something for everybody.”

“A Festive December” will be held on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 3 p.m. on the Orcas Center main stage. Admission is by donation, and afterwards attendees can enjoy a free dessert party with treats made by the band members.

“We are really blessed to have so many participants,” Key Speck said. “Our goal is to always get people to the concert who aren’t just friends and family and maybe haven’t seen a formal band concert before. Invariably, everyone who gives it a try says, ‘that was so much fun.’”

Musicians are: Susan Kimple and Moana Kutsche on flute; Karen Blinn on oboe; Gil Blinn, Angie Boucher, Bonnie Dahl, Tammy Grantham, Ed Hutsell, Bob Littlewood, Maria Nutt and Peja Schussler on clarinet; Leah Jenson and Judy Whiting on bassoon; Ginny Hawker and Sam Windsor on alto saxophone; Bruce Parker on tenor saxophone; Russ Harvey, Ewan Lister and Pat Muffett on trumpet; Don Breazeal, Linda Griffith and Tim Jenson on French horn; Joseph Boucher, Bruce Heller and Matt Jenson on trombone; Key Speck on euphonium; Beth Jenson on tuba; and percussionists Pat Littlewood, Ian Lister, Ken Speck and Shaffer-Bauck. The musicians range in age from 10 to 86.

The first half of the show is conducted by Jim Shaffer-Bauck and Key-Speck oversees the second portion. She says highlights of the show are “Ave Maria,” “Dec. 7, 1941,” and “Melancholy Serenade” arranged by Lee Kornegay.

The community band was founded in 1990 by Gary Bennett, and the group does two formal concerts a year: one in June and one in December as well as performing on holidays like July 4th and Veterans’ Day.

“For a musician it’s fun for us to work on all these different styles that you’ll hear in December and June,” Speck said. “It broadens what a community band can offer.”